The ripple effect of online gaming

17 10 2014
Destiny the game

Destiny the Game is a next generation first person shooter set in the future

You can’t turn a corner without hearing about the latest scandal related to online gambling nowadays. Whether it’s the new laws under the Gambling, Licensing and Advertising Act 2014 in the UK or Belgium’s latest attempts to clamp down on online gambling sites, it’s a trend which is attracting much controversy.

Online gaming is an ever-growing industry that has only prospered with the latest advances in technology. A recent report by Digi-Capital’s Global Games Industry Review suggested that the games industry could be worth more than $100 billion within the next three years, with 60 per cent of the industry’s revenue coming from online gaming. With this in mind, there has without a doubt been a ripple effect on many industries across the globe – here are just a few who are feeling the impact.

The smartphone industry

There have been more and more reports as to the cynical view that smartphones may be killing the video game industry. Without a doubt however, the rise of online gaming is both the cause and effect of higher interest in smartphones in the modern era. It was revealed in June 2012 that making calls was now the fifth most-used function of smartphones, while playing games is the third most-used function. Participants in a 2000-strong study also admitted that browsing the internet was the number one most-used function of their mobile phones. Today, many phones are now marketed at gamers rather than those looking to make calls, and with products like the iPhone 6 flying off the shelves, there’s no doubting the effect of online gaming on the smartphone industry.

Online casinos

With more and more sites like mrsmithcasino.co.uk cropping up every day, it’s not hard to see the parallels between online gaming and online gambling. The online casino industry has been on the up since its humble beginnings back in 2004, and now it is estimated to be worth around $45 billion worldwide, up from $7 billion in 2004. While sports betting is partly to thank for these huge revenues, the opportunity to play in online casinos has without a doubt helped to make the industry profitable.

Games consoles

Despite the aforementioned claims that smartphones are killing the video games industry, the new generation of consoles has only benefited from online gaming. The top players such as PlayStation and XBox both have their own online play element, such as XBox Live, and indeed this has helped to catapult their sales even more so. While multiplayer gaming may not have been popular in the beginning, modern day games like Call of Duty are making it all the more intriguing to gamers. The trend is now so en vogue that there are games being released which are online only, such as the critically acclaimed Destiny.



Project management program: Why private cloud is a good idea

17 02 2014

The cloud comes in various shapes and forms, and companies may implement any number of cloud-hosted solutions to meet their business needs. An enterprise project management program is one such tool.

According to Canopy – the open cloud company, such a program is crucial for “planning and implementing projects just in time, budget and quality, with a well-structured approach and the required transparency”.

The IT solutions provider highlights six key traits of an effective project management solution. It should: be fast to access and capable of operating across both commercial and international borders; be able to integrate data from other systems, should this be needed; allow personnel to work together, even if they are based in different countries; provide a way to plan, monitor, resource, and optimise costs and time; quickly give an overview of project statuses; and be able to produce reports and analyses.

Especially for companies that operate on a multinational scale, coordination can be one of the greatest challenges to overcome, when it becomes necessary to factor in things like varying market demands, time zones, legislation, languages and cultural differences, to name just a few of the significant hurdles of expanding internationally.

This is where a privately-hosted project management program could really come into its own.

Coordinating a project involving several team members is challenging enough. Put an ocean between these team members and the task of sharing data, information, ideas and expertise becomes a little daunting. However, facilitate this and that is what will ultimately drive performance and operational efficiency.

Having a mainframe computer running project management via an on-site server at HQ based in one particular city, a successful and efficient global project rollout does not make.

By hosting the software in a private cloud, not only will information be more readily available to everyone that needs to access it, but it will also enable the system to harness all of the benefits of the cloud more generally, such as scalability. Naturally, the scope of a project could vary as much as the length of a piece of string, depending on its sophistication and global reach, to name just two of several compounding factors, making scalability absolutely crucial to success.

At the end of the day, the pressure is on. The global financial crisis has crippled many companies and brought serious financial hardship to many more. Failure is not an option. Implementing an effective management solution such as this could be the first step towards safeguarding a company’s operations, ensuring projects run as smoothly as possible and that new and existing business keeps on rolling in. Ultimately, this is what will keep the coffers filled – the lifeblood for any firm, no matter how large or small.

According to research of various employees of large, medium and small enterprises by PM Solutions: “Firms on average manage $200 million (£123.7 million) in projects each year.

“In the course of that year, these organisations will realise that more than a third of their projects – $74 million worth – are at risk of failing.” An effective project management solution can not only help with the recovery of a failing project, but could also help to prevent this from happening in the first place.

It could be said that, for many companies, a privately-hosted project management program is a bit of a no-brainer.



Is Football A Curse?

10 02 2014

The world record for a transfer of a footballer was broken in August. The number? Estimated to be around £85 million. £85 million for a Footballer. It is a ridiculous fee for a footballer and one in which leads us to question when the world is in economic recession that why the growth of Football clubs is not slowing but only growing? Its a strange part of finance separate to all economy but you do have to ask where does this money come from?

Gareth Bale was the subject of that fee transferred between Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish Giants Real Madrid. Real Madrid have been noted in the past as the way in which they finance these deals every year or so is to borrow money from the Banks. They take out several loans from Banks and it is assumed that those loans are repaid through the success of the club or the club manage to pay them back. The problem though is that a very large number of the biggest clubs in Europe take on a lot of debt despite their success.

Real Madrid are one of those clubs. The best performing are the likes of Arsenal and Bayern Munchen in which they don’t often pay over the odds for players (though Bayern broke that in the Summer). Its strange to see the fees paid in Football rise so quickly. Zinedine Zidane was once the most expensive player in Football when he signed for Real Madrid way back in 2001 for around £40 million. That fee lasted for 8 years before Cristiano Ronaldo was transferred also to Real Madrid for £80 million.

Also, its more common to see footballers move for fees in the region of £20 million plus which also points towards the rise of fees paid. Football is arguably one of the most lucrative sectors in finance. Television and media coverage have heaped mass amounts of money on the Sport which since the inception of the Premier League and Sky Sports, football has gone from strength to strength. Depending on the way you view it, football is a curse somewhat with regards to how much money is injected into it. Where the economy is looking strained, football continues to thrive as it has done for the past 20 years.



Banks Still Not Doing Enough For Businesses

21 01 2014

The banks for the most part of the last year have been good at reshaping their focus and making more room to help the smaller businesses that need financial help. There was a positive financial buzz towards the end of the year in which resulted in renewed confidence in the economy. Despite this, MPs have weighed in on the banks telling them that they ‘have not done enough’.

Led by the public accounts committee, MPs said net lending by banks using the Funding for Lending scheme had fallen £2.3bn since June 2012.  The committee added there was little understanding of where overall support was most needed most. The government in their defence said the report did not reflect reality and that credit conditions were improving. ‘Funding for Lending’ is the scheme launched jointly by the Bank of England and the Treasury to boost lending dropping the homeowner help scheme.

Under the scheme, banks and building societies are allowed to borrow money cheaply from the Bank of England-as long as they then loaned that money to individuals and/or businesses. The scheme was recently modified to exclude individuals, as the Bank believed mortgage lending had picked up sufficiently and no longer needed special support.

Despite the MPs complaints, the BoE reported last year that the economy was the fastest growing in Europe and that lending was rising for businesses. It is a good sign that the banks are continuing their support for smaller businesses as now they are allowed to move more freely to do so.



Digital Advertising In The UK.

10 10 2013

Digital Advertisement spending in the UK is on the rise-and quite steeply to boot. According to a report released this week, digital advertising is on track to surpass £6bn this year with advertising budgets rising up by 17.5% over the first 6 months this year to more than £3bn-a record high.

This latest staggering figure equates to £10 per person per month for every UK internet user (in which there are 46.1 million which do so). The rise shows a trend in which will do much to trouble traditionalists that are not willing to embrace the digital values of the internet. Even outside of media consumption, the rise in business profiling and dealings on the internet has risen tremendously. So, with such emphasis and focus on digital advertising in the UK, where does that leave physical sectors, industries and business as we know it?

Socialisation

One of the big game changers through digitalisation is the way in which we socialise. The ways in which we socialise on the social media sites include the ways in which we interact with businesses and do our dealings. Look at the phenomenal success of twitter and linked in which have in no small part added a new dimension to business in social media. Linked In, a B2B network is a central platform of its own merit.

Digital Advertising versus Physical Advertising

With more people using the internet daily to conduct their own searches on the search engines, what does this mean for advertising? The majority of digital advertising still goes into the paid for search engine ads-around £1.8bn to be exact. This notion happens to coincide with the state of the print industry at this moment in time. While print advertising has certainly been a hallmark for businesses for a long time, digital advertising represents a new change in direction for business advertisers in which optimises convenience and accessibility over manufacturing costs.

Impact

Digital advertising is certainly as polarising as physical advertising. Digital advertising can enhance the visibility of websites across multiple digital channels. Internet use focuses on visual aspects which will grab and appeal to website users. It is certainly an important platform for website businesses to operate on. From social media to general internet consumption, there is always the chance that a business can appeal directly to someone through the internet.



Stacker & Platform Trucks: The Benefits for Business

6 08 2013

If you work in a warehouse or a workshop, you’re probably all too familiar with the implications of heavy lifting or operating heavy machinery. It’s important to protect your staff from the risks associated with this sort of work, and platform and stacker trucks are ideal for getting the job done safely.

These sorts of stacking and lifting devices can be powered by electricity or used manually in some cases, and are used to lift and move heavy items. There are various benefits to having this sort of equipment in your warehouse, read on to find out more.

Adjustable

Many lifts or stacker trucks are adjustable, so you can change how high the machine lifts goods to, often around 1.6 metres, 2.5 m and 3.5 m, making it useful for loading vans, as well as picking a weight capacity, such as 1,000 kg or 1,200 kg.

The adjustability levels vary depending on the product, and there are different sizes to choose from – some are more suited to heavy duty lifting while others are equipped to deal with smaller, lighter loads.

Safe

Heavy lifting can be problematic and requires both special training and all sorts of procedures to ensure workers do not injure themselves, as well as policies in case anything untoward does happen while staff are lifting and moving items. You can remove the risk by investing in stacker trucks or lifts, which means your employees are less at risk of being hurt from lifting, but you will need to make sure they’re properly trained to use the equipment. It’s also vital to ensure the machinery is properly maintained and passes regular checks to ensure it’s in good working order.

Time-efficient

Using lifts and stacker trucks can be more time-effective than having employees lift and move goods around a workshop, as they are designed to carry more weight than a person could manage safely. You could find, as a result, that your employees are more productive with their time, as they will only have to load and unload the equipment as opposed to also having to move the goods around item by item.

Wide-ranging

There are a variety of lifts and stacker trucks to choose from, offering different levels of adjustment and weight-bearing abilities, as well as other features. Some models have wheels to make them easy to move around, and these are usually fitted with special brakes to avoid accidental movement while in use. There are small, lightweight options that are easy to store, and bigger, sturdier alternatives for heavier work. Some lifts and stacker trucks are powered by electric batteries, have detachable handles – which can make them easier to store – adjustable forks, or standard fixed options.

Suitable for all budgets

Regardless of your budget, you’re likely to find a stacker truck or lift that you can afford for your workshop. Often ranging from around several hundred to several thousand pounds, there is scope to invest in this sort of machinery for all sizes of business and budget. A small, lightweight model that is used manually might be ideal for a small business, while a more industrial, heavy-duty version with a greater variety of features and automatic powering could be perfect for use in a large workshop or warehouse, where you need to lift and move heavier items or more goods.



The benefits of internet focusing marketing.

1 08 2013

Business is moving fast towards becoming dominantly virtual. There will come a point in which small businesses within local vicinities need to embrace the virtual platform ruthlessly. It is no doubt of benefit to those that use it cannily. However those that do not use the virtual platform or do not simply understand it can be at a sincere disadvantage. So what are the benefits of putting your business or company on the web?

1. Exposure: The internet is a vast space and platform. More time is spent on the internet than any other collectively in the world. By putting your site onto the web, the potential for exposure can far exceed any projected expectations that business owners may have previously had expected. Even small businesses can gain momentum in local areas by attracting visitors from outside of the small vicinities.

2.  Audience: Closely linked to exposure but not quite the same. The audience in which you are focusing on can be easily more defined and streamlined when on a virtual platform. By using things like google analytics, you can see what viewers type and are interested in relation to your website. It makes for a better way of diagnostics for your target market and a far easier way of defining them.

3. Sponsorship: Sponsorship can be something of a mystery and a complexity on the internet. Those willing to sponsor can appear in smaller numbers than those that would in the real world. Yet, the benefits of doing this digitally can mean for numerous sponsors and tailored ways of doing so on your website. From pop-ups to widgets, it can make the difference and can make extra funds easier to gain.

4. Ease of access: This is undoubtedly why most people use the internet for business. Want to search a business and see its credentials? On the internet, it can be done through a search engine within 10 seconds. This makes it much easier rather than being directed to a small ad in a yellow pages book for example. Also, contact via e-mail is not limited in time (unless the contact is away for example) and can act as a means for more direct access.

Overall the benefits are there to see in making your business more marketable virtually. The difference in approach and defining aspects such as audience, target market are far easier than doing so in reality. Even the smallest of businesses can only benefit from marketing their business digitally.



How to interview sales candidates

25 07 2013

In the current economic climate and with the jobs market in its current state, it is arguably more important than ever that companies have a robust and dependable interview system in place to ensure they recruit the right candidates for the job.

When it comes to sales interviews, those in charge of recruitment will need to make sure that their process will identify not only the right qualifications, credentials and skills, but also the appropriate personal attributes so essential for success in a sales role.

Competency-based interviewing

This technique – one of the most effective for finding the right individuals for a vacancy – allows employers to find out concrete facts and examples about whether or not a candidate has proved themselves to be capable of the role.

Put another way, the questions asked will be more like “Give me an example of when you have…” as opposed to “What would you do if…”.

Those conducting interviews should bear in mind that these don’t need to be limited to positive actions. For example, “Give me an example of when you haven’t completed a project on time and explain to me what happened, why it happened and how you dealt with it?” could tell you a lot more about a candidate than them telling you about something they did well.

A competency-based session will then be combined with psychometric profiling techniques and other bespoke questions – both of which sales recruitment agencies can help you with – leaving those in charge of recruitment reassured that their process has been based on far more than just gut instinct.

Questions about personality

In the sales profession, personality traits such as charm and charisma should be measured on an equal footing with skills and credentials. Therefore, including questions that can find out whether or not a candidate possesses certain personal qualities will be an extremely important component of the process

Psychometric profiling will be an invaluable tool in assessing personality by providing a comprehensive overview of how they match up to vital personality traits in the workplace, such as assertiveness, confidence, social sensitivity and openness to change.

Another way to find out more about a candidate’s personality may be to set a task – such as by giving them three minutes to sell you a certain product or asking them to give a quick presentation about a topic (giving them appropriate time to prepare), as personality will tend to come across in this sort of exercise.

Bear in mind, however, that this part of the process does not include asking avant-garde questions such as “If you were an animal, what would you be and why?” Unless you are trained psychologist, this is unlikely to bring much by way of value.

Illegal questions

Be careful not to ask something in an interview that, based on grounds of discrimination perhaps, you are quite simply not entitled to ask. Nevertheless, there are ways to get around these legal pitfalls.

For example, you are not entitled to ask whether or not a candidate has children or plans to have any – however, you could say “What experience do you have working with ‘x’ age group?” and they may end up volunteering the information.

Similarly, you are not allowed to ask what religious faith – if any – they belong to. However, if you need to know for the purposes of availability, you could simply say “What days are you available to work?” and they may tell you they cannot do so at the weekend for religious reasons – and you will have got the information you need without causing legal trouble for yourself.

 



A look at the ways you can treat your staff

23 07 2013

Whether your business employs five people or 5,000, it’s important to show you care about them. As the saying goes, a happy workforce is a productive workforce – and making sure all your staff feel like they are important and valued will go some way towards improving your bottom line and how your organisation is perceived. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly offer treats and benefit programmes. Here is a look at some of your options:

Vouchers and savings schemes

Helping staff get on a solid financial footing will definitely improve how they perceive your organisation and running a Christmas voucher scheme may be particularly appreciated by those working for small businesses.

Here, participants can set aside a small amount of their monthly salary in return for gift vouchers they can claim in the build-up to the festive season. You might even want to supplement workers’ savings by adding a bonus to the amount they have deposited.

If your company is listed on the stock exchange, meanwhile, you might want to offer a Save As You Earn programme. This tax-efficient saving scheme allows employers to save towards buying shares in the organisation that employs them at a discounted rate over a specified period of time (usually between three and five years). Once the term has come to an end, savers can either purchase shares in the company or release their savings in the form of cash.

Gifts

Everybody likes receiving presents, so distributing business gifts will certainly pay dividends in terms of improving how your company is perceived among staff.

There are several ways you could give out goods to workers, so there’s sure to be scope to find something suitable for your business. One popular method is to run an employee of the month/year scheme, where the individual who is deemed to have made an extra-special effort is given a special reward. This could be in the form of a bottle of champagne or a trophy, while a box of chocolates is bound to appeal to those who have a sweet tooth. Whatever you choose, such rewards are certain to give employees the incentive to put 110 per cent into the cause.

Alternatively, you could hand out an engraved pen or watch to a long-serving worker as a token of thanks for the many years of loyal service they have given your organisation.

When you consider research by Promotional Products Association International shows that more than half of those who have received a promotional item feel more positive about the company that issued it to them, giving out gifts is definitely something you ought to consider doing.

Parties

The annual Christmas party is probably the work event employees look forward to the most over the course of a year, but there are many other social gatherings and events you can put. Holding a summer barbecue will definitely show your business in a good light, while parties that mark the anniversary of your company’s foundation not only provide a great chance to reflect on all the hard work that people have put in over the past years, but also to look forward to renewed success in the future.

Having a small party to celebrate the achievements of a long-serving employee, meanwhile, is a great way to show your organisation cares about its staff and is eager to reward those who work hard.

In what ways do you treat your staff?

 



How to create a positive workplace culture

23 07 2013

It should be of no surprise to anybody that creating a positive workplace culture has significant value attached to it. Even though phrases like “fungineering” or “play at work” might conjure images of a David Brent-like manager preaching to bored and overworked staff – it is still of vital importance bosses do whatever it takes to keep employees happy.

This article will offer you and your HR staff the latest hot tips that are a sure-fire way to increase retention and raise productivity. We’ll also try to keep buzzword usage to a minimum so you don’t close the tab!

Employee benefits programmes (you can see examples here) might not be the most interesting subject, but making sure workers are kept happy by providing them with perks is one of the most important things a HR manager can do to improve morale.

Some offered by You at Work include:

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers allow parents of young children to be able to pay for their kids’ nursery bills through a salary sacrifice system.

One of the primary benefits of selecting this perk for employees include the fact it is completely tax-free which could save your staff thousands of pounds per year.

Additionally, it will allow parents that would otherwise have to rush off on the dot to be slightly more flexible in terms of when they leave the office without compromising their private lives.

Michelle Ryan, professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, at Exeter University, said: “It’s clear that employers need to create workplaces which offer real flexibility that reflect the needs of today’s employees if we’re to see women appropriately represented at senior management level in the future.

“We need a step change in attitudes to flexible working in order to help create diverse businesses that fully reflect society.”

Cycle-to-work

Another great benefit offered by You at Work is tax-free bicycles that are paid for through salary sacrifice programmes.

Not only does getting this system in place help staff to get to work quicker – meaning they have more time to sleep and have breakfast – but it could also make them healthier.

Employees who cycle to work are substantially less likely to take time off and have around two more full days worth of productivity than those who walk or drive into work.

Health screenings

Giving your staff access to free private health-screenings is one of the more popular ways for HR managers to create a more positive workplace.

Letting employees visit a doctor regularly to discuss medical issues will not only reduce incidences of absenteeism, but it will also catch any potentially serious issues early and give peace of mind to the more anxious members of your workforce.

Plus, liaising with a private healthcare company will show staff how committed your firm is to their well-being and may help heighten retainment and morale levels.

‘Quirky’ team building exercises

Not only can implementing well sustained and synergistic funtertainment help any team’s blue sky-capacity but it can … nah just kidding!

Total Reward Statements

Combining payslips with Total Reward Statements (TRS) – summaries of workers’ salary sacrifice and tax-free savings income and expenditure – is almost essential for any business that is serious about putting a solid benefits regime in place.

There’s almost no point in offering staff members a fantastic range of perks if they simply don’t know they’re getting them and using a TRS is a great way to educate them to this end.